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Team Ireland had one athlete taking part in two races of the men’s canoe sprint early this morning in Tokyo
Signing off until racing is done. Talk on the far side pic.twitter.com/rokHHnNCIN
— Patrick O'Leary (@eentjebeen) September 1, 2021
Patrick O’Leary – Men’s Kayak Single 200m – KL3 Heat 1
Ireland’s leading Paralympic canoer had a busy morning in Tokyo with two important races in the space of an hour and a half. His first race began at 02:00 Irish time and the Irishman went in lane six.
The 48-year-old was in a very diverse race including the three-time world champion Tom Kierey. This is a very fast and energetic event and this race was no different.
O’Leary started well, remaining with the main group in the beginning. At the halfway mark he began to drop off into the sixth position but showed true fitness in the final sprint to push into fifth and qualify for the semi-finals.
He finished in a time of 43.502 but did not have a lot of time to celebrate as he had to prepare for his second race of the day.
本日 #パラカヌー スプリント男子KL3予選、VL3予選に出場するパトリック・オレアリー選手は、リオ2016大会でアイルランドを代表する初のパラカヌー選手となりました。
アスリートである一方、彼はアイルランド国立大学ゴールウェイ校で有機化学を教えています。Ádh mór (Best of luck), Pat ☘️ pic.twitter.com/zHhRYTBGVw
— アイルランド大使館 Ireland in Japan (@IrishEmbJapan) September 2, 2021
Men’s Va’a Single 200m – VL3 Heat 1
Only 80 minutes later and O’Leary was at the starting line, raring to go and qualify for another semi-final.
He continued his stellar form into this traditionally Samoan-style race, as he got off to a speedy start. He always remained within touching distance of the leading rider and the 48-year-old finished the race in a time of 54.70 seconds.
This time earned him a fifth place which is good enough to qualify for the Va’a semi-finals this Saturday.
Now that O’Leary has found his form reaching two semi-finals at the Paralympics, there is more hope that he can better his Paralympic best, which was sixth in Rio 2016.
#ParaCanoe Patrick O’Leary has qualified for the semi-finals of the VL3 Va’a on Saturday after finishing 5th in his heat in a time of 54.70 seconds ⏱#TeamIreland | #TheNextLevel | #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/YqqzHLx4l0
— Paralympics Ireland (@ParalympicsIRE) September 2, 2021